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Watchdog: Accountability

Vermont auditor plans review of health website

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Associated Press,Watchdog,Watchdog Blog,Obamacare,Health Care,Accountability

The state auditor of accounts plans to review the troubled implementation of Vermont's health care exchange website, which has been criticized for being slow and not allowing users to correct mistakes.

Auditor Doug Hoffer also said he hopes to work with the federal government on the review.

Vermont Health Connect has cost more than $180 million to get up and running, funded mostly by federal grants.

An independent review has found that the exchange had technical problems for a number of reasons, including an aggressive timetable by the federal government, a decision to switch contractors and errors made by the selected contractor.

"Clearly some issues arose in the implementation of this one and I think it's critical looking ahead to what the plan is that we straighten those out and get them fixed before we get to the next level, if we ever do," said Hoffer, whose office plans to launch a performance audit of the exchange in late June or early July. The audit should take about six months, he said.

Among other things, Hoffer hopes to look at the security protocols of the computer systems used to sign people up for health care coverage, he told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1jArDsR).

"That is something that will continue. That's not a one-off. People will continue to use the IT system that's been developed whether we get to single payer or not. And they need, and deserve, the right to believe and know that the system is secure and that their personal information will be secure," he said.

Hoffer said he hopes to collaborate with the Inspector General of the federal Health and Human Services Agency.

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